KEEPING OUR TRADITIONS ALIVE. COMPENDIUM OF BEST PRACTICES IN PROMOTING THE TRADITIONAL WAYS OF LIFE OF ARCTIC INDIGENOUS PEOPLES.
Arctic Indigenous peoples and communities have a long history of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, sustained through generations of traditional economies and cultural practices. For many, living according to traditional ways of life creates a sense of cultural identity, fosters a close connection to nature and provides them with increased control over their own destiny. Sustaining their traditional ways of life, through the transfer of traditional practices, ensures that their values persist and that important social and cultural links are maintained. As a result of factors such as globalization and climate change, the Arctic has been undergoing transformative changes on many levels, including social, cultural, environmental and economic. These changes present both challenges and opportunities to traditional ways of life in Arctic indigenous communities. And while globalization and modernization have undeniably affected the Arctic, it is important to acknowledge that traditional and modern ways of life can co-exist in ways that benefit Arctic peoples and communities. In this time of rapid change, Arctic indigenous peoples continue to demonstrate resilience and an ability to adapt. They are finding innovative ways to help ensure that traditional ways of life remain a sustainable choice. The positive impacts of these innovations, or best practices, are being realized in the region and beyond. The Arctic Council has a long history of undertaking activities that support vibrant and sustainable circumpolar communities. It has been a common sentiment that through raising global awareness and understanding of the importance of traditional ways of life to the health and wellbeing of Arctic Indigenous peoples, better decision-making by those outside the region will ensue. The Council’s initiative to promote the traditional ways of life of Arctic indigenous peoples expresses this important priority. One of the key components of this work was to develop a compendium of initiatives, programs and polices considered by Arctic states and Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations to be a sampling of best practices in promoting these practices. While by no means an exhaustive list, the compilation of best practices in this volume attempts to provide the reader with an understanding of some of these practices, their importance and the work being done at various levels to ensure they continue to flourish. Each submission in this compendium was identified by an Arctic state or Indigenous Permanent Participant organization. Readers interested in learning more about any of these best practices are encouraged to contact the individual or organization listed. By working to influence decisions and actions that may positively impact the lives of Arctic residents, the Arctic Council aims to continue to promote a healthy and dynamic circumpolar north, where rich and vibrant cultures continue to thrive.